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Dr. Bray, in the general preface to his volume, thus introduces “ The His tory of the Old Waldenses and Albigenses, those two glorious Witnesses to the truth of Christianity, in opposition to the Antichristianism of Rome:"_
“ This celebrated history by Jean Paul Perrin, of Lyons, was written in French, and soon after was translated into our language; but on account of the obsolete improprieties of the phrases, is here rendered anew. Before I resolved upon publishing it, I consulted Dr. Allix, both because he was the best judge, and because in his own volume he had frequently quoted it as an excellent narrative of undoubted authority. Indeed I find it very often cited by the learned men who discuss the subject of those primitive Christians, with great attestations to its worth, as giving a complete account of the horrible devastations and wars which were raised and carried on by the Popes, under the solemnity of Croisades, besides the more private ways of murdering by the merciless Inquisitors, against those preservers of the primitive Christianity, and forerunners of the blessed Reformation, the old Waldenses and Albigenses, to the extermination, as far as divine Providence would permit, both of the princes and people, who then were the only maintainers of the true religion.
“In that part of the history concerning the Albigenses, we have that Latin Antichristian tyranny most remarkably exemplified, in the total ruin and extermination, both of several princes and of their people, merely for endeavouring to conserve primitive Christianity in its native purity, and for opposing the Papal despotism and innovations. Herein are also represented the wars, massacres, and persecutions carried on by the instigation of the Popes and the Romish priesthood, to the distress of every subject in the dominions of those princes who either formerly were, or still are vassals to the Romish hierarchy. In this history of the Albigenses are given various instances of the wicked principles which tended to maintain the Papal usurpations over secular princes; and of the manner in which they were enforced upon the Earls of Thoulouse, Beziers, Foix, and Comminges, and even on the King of Arragon. The barbarous manner in which those Papal encroachments and usurpations were put in practice, will amaze the reader at the insults and violence of those prime ministers of Satan, Pope Innocent III., and Pope Innocent IV., towards those worthy and honest sovereign rulers; at the perusal of which, all persons who are not of the persecuting party, would almost shed tears, while their hearts must needs bleed.
“ This history, including both that of the Waldenses and Albigenses is very proper to precede the more extended accounts of the miserable havoc and bloody butcheries made in the succeeding centuries, in the several parts of Christendom, of the true members of Christ's church, wherever dispersed, or however distressed, over the face of the whole earth; and indeed the following history does admirably relate their story as so distressed and so dispersed.
“THEIR DISTRESSES.-As Antichristianism gradually prevailed in the western church, those eminent and glorious “ Two Witnesses” retired by degrees more and more into the coverts of the wilderness, or the almost inaccessible places of the Alps, and the mountainous parts of France; and as was predicted of them, Revelation xii. 14, there for some time they remained hidden. But Antichrist having at last attained the height of his
power, and the European princes for fear of his wrath, having become so obsequious to him, that they yielded themselves up to the base office of being merely executioners of the Christians whom he condenined—“that Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition”—being no longer able to tolerate those burning and shining lights, poured forth his own rage, and let loose their fury upon “ the called, and chosen, and faithful,” as is amply detailed in the ensuing history.
“Their DISPERSIONS.-As their distresses are there declared, so are their dispersions far and wide, throughout most parts of the kingdoms of Europe, when the persecutions of them were so fiery, that the sheep were scattered from the fold abroad into the world. It pleased the divine Providence, to deal with those confessors and martyrs who, emphatically and kata ešoxnv, were the Lord's witnesses to his truth, as with the primitive “church which was at Jerusalem, Acts viii. 1, who were all scattered abroad,” and who being sorely persecuted in one city, fled into another; and thus by their dispersion spread the light of the Gospel throughout the Olkovpevn or Orbis Romanus, as in the civil law the Roman empire was called, thereby arrogating the whole world as their dominion, as the modern pontifex maximus copying their arrogance, and adding to it his blasphemy, has done. In like manner the Christians inhabiting the valleys of the Alps, having been coerced to forsake their abodes, by the horrid desolations of themselves and their habitations, dispersed themselves, and carried with them the truths of the Gospel far and wide into Bohemia, England, France, Germany, Poland, Spain, and the adjoining countries to them on the western side of the Alps, and into Calabria and Italy, to the east. There the precious seed of the Word for some ages lay buried, and harrowed as it were under clods, till the happy dawn of the Reformation, since which time it has appeared above ground, and notwithstanding many rough winters, God be praised ! it has borne a plentiful Larvest of truth and righteousness. All this does our excellent historian, Perrin, unfold in his work, which relates the Papal oppression of the injured potentates, and the sore distresses of the martyred people—proving that the injuries of both proceeded from the same Antichristian power.
“That much esteemed author has also preserved for us authentic memorials concerning the doctrines, worship, and discipline of the Waldenses and Albigenses, and the noble testimony given by them against the Roman Antichrist, with practical discourses which depict the purity of their manners.
“In reference to their DOCTRINE, we have the ancient confessions of their faith, their Catechism for the instruction of their youth, and their genuine Exposition of the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Sacraments, and the Apostle's Creed.
“As to their discipline, besides the very ancient confession of their sing which was used among them, and their general mode of visiting the sick, there are many other articles that exhibit their singular care and watchfulness in the regulation of their life and manners.
“Concerning their WORSHIP, there is that noble testimony of those glorious confessors against the “Man of Sin," as exhibited in their treatise concerning Antichrist, Purgatory, Invocation of Saints, and the Sacraments.
“As to their practical discourses, their mortification to the world and their Christian simplicity of character really shine in their Treatise of Tribulation, and in their Noble Lesson.
“Upon the perusal of which antiquated documents, it imparts a sin rular pleasure to all whose eyes are not dazzled with the meretricious paint and attire of the Roman Harlot Mother, to see the “Woman in the Wilderness" so unspotted in her garb, even from the tenth to the sixteenth century, during all the most corrupt ages of the church; and then at the Reformation, to appear so Christian, as on her part to need little or no amendment and purification.
“ The Roman Inquisitors were enraged at the Waldenses for their constancy and perseverance in such sanctity of faith and practice. Therefore, although the mere force of truth did sometimes extort from them the most honourable testimonies on their behalf, yet generally those Inquisitors published the most wicked lies which they could invent against them; and in their criminal processes they also villanously inserted, in their answers and confessions, crimes of which those guileless Christians never dreamed.
“Reinerius contra Waldenses, Cap. IV., however, thus avers :-'All other sects render themselves horrible by reason of their blasphemies against God, but the Waldenses have a great appearance of piety, inasmuch as they live justly before men, and believe aright concerning God in all things, and hold all the articles of the Creed; but there is one thing against them, they decry the Roman priesthood, and thereby they easily gain credit among the people.'
“ Hence, next to the grace of God, I know nothing of greater efficacy and use than the martyrology, the history of confessors and martyrs, to awaken and save us; and to prepare us to endure with Christian patience, and with a spirit of martyrdom, the worst that may come upon us.”
A brief delineation of the more remarkable traits of character which the Christians of the Alpine valleys, on the confines of France and Italy, ever have exhibited, will form an appropriate introductory notice to the ensuing histories. The graphical description of Mr. Sims, Minister of the Episcopal Church, in England, has therefore been selected. He twice visited Piedmont expressly to become acquainted with those secluded disciples of Immanuel, and the eventful scenes through which they have passed. To his concise sketch of those valleys and of their inhabitants, he appended this impressive memorial : “The train of feelings induced by the recollections of the Waldenses, when treading those sequestered spots where they reside, were such as neither the treasures of art, nor the stupendous views of nature, unfolded in the Cantons of Switzerland, had possessed, in an equal degree, the magic to impart.»* The evidence and narrative of Mr. Sims illustrate and give additional value to the subsequent volume.
“There is a small and comparatively obscure district at the extremity of the plain of Piedmont, immediately under the Alps, which, though seldom visited, has been the seat of transactions which have often excited the attention and the sympathy of the principal European states. This district, which is distinguished for much of that grand scenery which characterizes
* This is precisely the sentiment also of the Roman Orator—"Movemur," wrote Tully, "nescio quo pacto, locis ipsis, in quibus eorum, quos diligimus aut admiramur, adsunt vestigia. Me quidem ipsæ illæ nostræ Athenæ non tam operibus magnificis, exquisitisque antiquorum artibus delectant, quam recordatione summorum virorum, ubi quisque habitare, ubi sedere, ubi disputare solitus sit; studioseque eorum etiam sepulchra contemplor.”—Cicero de Legib., Lib. II. Cap. 2.
Alpine regions, but which is chiefly interesting when viewed in connection with Christian antiquities, comprises the valleys of Luzerne, Perosa and San Martino, in the province of Pinerolo, in Sardinia.
“Those valleys are inhabited by a peaceable, industrious, and inoffensive race of men, whose adherence to the pure truths of the Christian religion has been, and still continues to be, very conspicuous and exemplary. The inhabitants called Waldenses, or Valdenses, in Italian Valdesi, and in French Vaudois, from the valleys which they inhabit, are the descendants of Christians whose heroic achievements have awakened the astonishment of all acquainted with their history, while their piety and constancy justly entitle the sufferers to a place in the noble army of martyrs.' The present population occupy fifteen villages or parishes, and amount to about twenty thousand persons.
6. That a people whose history is so replete with the marvellous and the pathetic, and whose adherence to a primitive faith has been for a series of ages so firm and so uniform, should have excited a more than ordinary degree of attention and respect, cannot be deemed surprising; since, viewed in connection with religion, their soil must be regarded as almost sacredtheir rocks and caves, their temples and their dwellings, are beheld with unusual emotions, and the children of such suffering ancestors are peculiarly entitled to our esteem. On such spots, however delightful the scenery, the principal charm consists in the association of all that presents itself to the eye with historical recollections, consecrated, as the territory has been, in an almost unparalleled degree, by the patience of the confessor, and the agony of the martyr.
“ The modern Waldenses, who are lineal descendants of ancient worthies, inheriting both their names and their possessions, when compared with most other Christians, must be considered a very exemplary race of men. Those crimes which require the punishment of the magistrate, are of very rare occurrence. A stranger may pass through the country, by day or night, unmolested; and to thisday, as above two centuries ago, when De Vignaux wrote his "Memoires,' the Vaudois are preferred to others as domestics by the Romanists—an honorable, but a dangerous preference! From other virtues conspicuous among the Vaudois, their INDUSTRY, HUMANITY, and LOYALTY, more particularly may be specified.
“ Their poverty and privations are extreme. The hardships which they endure in procuring the necessary food for their families are such as we rarely witness. Compelled to raise walls even to prevent the scanty portions of soil on the sides of the mountains from being washed down by heavy rains-obliged to break up that soil by manual labour, for cattle cannot be used to plough it-forced, women as well as men, on account of the steepness of the ground, to carry hay, grain, and their other products, on their backs to great distances, and thus to undertake the drudgery assigned to cattle in this country, and after such excessive labour obtaining, in general, only rye, buckwheat, chestnuts, and potatoes, for their subsistence—it is obvious that their patient industry is almost unequalled.
“ The HUMANITY which they have displayed is remarkable. So circumstanced as to be always in need of the sympathy of others, they have learned that beneficial lesson which is usually acquired in the school of affliction
compassion for others when in misery. If any one is ill, there is even a sort of competition among the neighbours who shall pay the first and greatest attentions; and to relieve sudden accidents and distress of the poor, a sermon is preached and a collection made. One illustrious instance of their humanity should not pass unnoticed. When the Austrians and Russians under Suwarrow compelled the French army to retreat, three hundred French wounded soldiers received all the assistance, medical and otherwise, that could be given ; and at the request of their minister Rostaing, the inhabitants of Bobi carried those miserable wounded sufferers on their shoulders over the mountains into the French territory. Their most painful task was the act of pure Christian humanity, and not the result of political feelings; yet but for the interposition of Prince Bagrathion, it would have exposed them and their property to considerable danger. The Austrians could not withhold their admiration, and the French General, Suchet, published an order for the very purpose of acknowledging such a singular instance of benevolence.
“Still more recently they have exemplified the same humane feelings on an occasion which Count Waldbourg Truchsess, the Prussian Ambassador at Turin, thus describes in a letter, dated Turin, August 18, 1825 :--The Vaudois spontaneously made a collection among themselves in favour of the Hollanders who suffered by the recent inundations. The collection amounts to more than three thousand francs, which have been sent to Holland, where their donation has excited the most lively gratitude. It is exceedingly affecting to inspect the subscription-list of the various districts. Not one individual was excluded. Each contributed according to his ability. Even the children contributed their saved sou. Benevolence always is one of the noblest qualities. The rich cannot make a better use of their wealth ; but it is sublime when it is exercised by him who divides his last morsel of bread, to support his wretched brethren.'*
« The Loyalty of the Waldenses likewise presents a model worthy of general imitation, to all other people; and the more so, as their religious principles widely differ from those of the state.
“In 1694, Victor Amadeus granted an edict in favour of the Vaudois, which was highly honourable to them. He said to their deputies—You have but one God and but one prince to obey. Serve God and your prince conscientiously. Others were the cause of your misery. But if you perform your duty, I will do mine, and as long as I have a bit of bread you shall partake of it.'t
* Les Vaudois ont fait de leur propre mouvement, une collecte entre eux en faveur des Hollandois, qui ont souffert par les dernières inondations. Cette collecte a rapporte plus de 3000 F., et a été envoyée en Hollande, ou elle a excité la plus vive reconnoissance. Il est effectivement touchant de voir la liste de souscription des diverses communes. Aucun individu ne s'en est exclu, chacun a donné selon ses facultés; même les enfans y ont contribué leurs sous d'epargne. La bienfaisance est toujours une des plus belles qualités et dignes d'eloge. L'homme riche ne sauroit faire un meilleur usage de son bien ; mais elle est sublime, quand elle est exercée par celui, qui partage son dernier morceau de pain pour soulager ses frères malheureux."
+" Vous n'avez qu'un Dieu et qu'un prince à servir. Servez Dieu et votre prince en toute conscience. D'autres ont été la cause de vos malheurs; mais si vous faites votre